Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by Louisville police on March 13. Only one of the three cops involved has been charged
One of the jurors in the Breonna Taylor case has revealed they were not given the option to indict two of the three cops involved in her killing and says Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is misrepresenting their deliberations by claiming they were satisfied neither of the officers should be charged.
Taylor was shot and killed in her home in Louisville in March after three cops – Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove – opened fire on her apartment, where she was asleep with her boyfriend.
They were executing a no-knock search warrant for her apartment that was part of a drug trafficking probe into her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, at the time.
Taylor’s boyfriend at the time of her death, Kenneth Walker, awoke to the officers breaking down the door with a battering ram and opened fire. He says they did not announce themselves.
The cops returned fire and killed her.
Despite global outrage over the killing – one of several this year that have highlighted police brutality against black Americans and sparked protests worldwide – nothing was done to charge the officers until last week when, after a grand jury was convened, Hankison was indicted.
He was not charged with murder but was charged with wanton endangerment. Neither Mattingly nor Cosgrove was charged and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron claimed it was because his office had concluded that the pair were acting in self-defense by returning fire on Taylor’s apartment.
He said the grand jury was satisfied with that reasoning but, after widespread outrage following the decision and after the aforementioned juror filed a motion pushing him to make all the evidence public, he vowed on Monday to release the records from the case.
Now, that juror is anonymously speaking out through a lawyer to say they were never given the option to charge the other two cops. That juror’s lawyer says they are in ‘turmoil’ over the outcome.
Daniel Cameron on Monday agreed to release transcripts of the grand jury proceedings
‘This is something where the juror is not seeking any fame, any acclaim, any money,’ their attorney, Kevin M. Glogower, told The New York Times.
On Wednesday a grand jury indicted only one of the three officers involved in the shooting, and only for the lesser charge of wanton endangerment – leading to protests across the country.
The unidentified juror filed a suit on Monday seeking the release of the documents so that that ‘the truth may prevail.’
The juror’s case stated: ‘There is a compelling public interest for these proceedings to be released of a magnitude the city and Commonwealth have never seen before that could not be confined, weaving its way across the country.’
Former detective Brett Hankison is the only one of the three to face charges for the killing
It suggests the attorney general has used jurors ‘as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility.’
The motion says the juror fears Cameron ‘would attempt to utilize the court’s contempt powers… if there was a public disclosure that contradicted certain things that he stated happened during the proceedings, characterized the singularity of the decision in a different light, or raised doubts about charges that were presented during the proceedings.’
Cameron’s office had previously said sharing more information would be inappropriate with a criminal case and separate federal investigation ongoing.
On Monday night Cameron backed down, and agreed to release the information on Wednesday.
He said he felt it was the wrong thing to do, given that the grand jury ‘is meant to be a secretive body’.
People hold signs in support of Taylor while marching in downtown Louisville on Saturday
But, he added, it is ‘apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen.’
He continued: ‘As the special prosecutor, our team has an ethical obligation not to release the recording from the Grand Jury proceedings, and we stand by our belief that such a release could compromise the ongoing federal investigation and could have unintended consequences such as poisoning the jury pool.
‘Despite these concerns, we will comply with the Judge’s order to release the recording on Wednesday. The release of the recording will also address the legal complaint filed by an anonymous grand juror.’
Cameron said he was confident that the documents would show his team was right in not prosecuting two of the three officers.
Cameron said he stands by the case his team presented.
‘Once the public listens to the recording, they will see that over the course of two-and-a-half days, our team presented a thorough and complete case to the Grand Jury,’ he said.
Earlier on Monday the only police officer indicted pleaded not guilty on three counts of wanton endangerment of Taylor’s neighbors.
Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted by a grand jury last Wednesday and charged with endangering Taylor’s neighbors because some of the 10 bullets he fired during the raid on her home entered an adjacent apartment.
The other two officers who shot Taylor were not charged at all after Cameron concluded their use of force was justified.
Taylor was struck by six bullets moments after she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were roused from bed as the three plain-clothes officers forced open the front door shortly after midnight.
Walker, who has maintained he did not know the intruders were police, fired toward the officers, wounding one in the thigh, according to Cameron’s investigation.
The three officers started shooting back.
Six of their bullets hit Taylor, though none appeared to be from Hankison’s gun, according to Cameron.
The Louisville Metro Police Department had obtained a so-called ‘no knock’ warrant in their investigation of a suspected drug dealer who lived elsewhere in the city who had previously dated Taylor.
Hankison entered his plea during an audio conference call before Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The police department fired him in June for his actions during the raid.
Smith ordered Hankison to not possess any guns over the objection of his lawyer, who said the former detective, who was released from jail on a $15,000 bond last week, may need weapons for self-defense, the Courier Journal reported.
He is next due to appear before to court on October 28 for a pre-trial hearing.